Jake Bugg, Alexandra Palace, gig review: Bugg has the charm and charisma of a lettuce leaf

Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

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The Independent Culture

Wild, tempestuous, getting right to the very core… Hurricane Gonzalo makes the uphill climb to Alexandra Palace more challenging than usual, but it's where fans are heading to hear Jake Bugg perform.

When he first came to the attention of the general public, Bugg’s voice had potential as something unique. It had character, and his lyrics sounded genuine. Now his vocal work is flat with an even higher pitch: as though he took a few quick breathers from a helium balloon before he walked on-stage.  

His complete lack of physical movement doesn’t help. Ineffectively strumming his guitar with two equally limp musicians at his back, Bugg has all the charm and charisma of a lettuce leaf, while blues riffs from 70 years ago lack soul or intensity, and his half-arsed attempts at solos are not so much Willie Johnson as drunk-fresher-on-Guitar Hero.

Each track blurs into the next, to the point where the only thing keeping anyone alert is the blinding light display. Even his catchier songs – ‘Messed Up Kids’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’ – fail to maintain the crowd’s attention. At one point, someone starts talking about a funeral they went to recently. An altercation breaks out between fans. People turn to watch that instead.